An important lesson for budding young writers to learn is the difference between fact and opinion, and how they both play different roles in various forms of writing. Understanding the difference between the two can help children think critically about what they’re reading in order to decipher whether something is fact or opinion. Additionally, it teaches them an important lesson to not trust everything they read at face value, and also helps them understand that some writers may have different opinions than them. Knowing when something is factual is also helpful for children writers, so they know when something can not be argued against. Let’s discuss the difference between facts and opinions!
Facts are statements that are true and can not be proven to be false. Facts could be concerning the existence, reality, or truth about any subject matter. On the other hand, opinions are statements a person makes about their feelings, beliefs, or views. Opinions are different from facts because they can not be proven true. Often, people have varying opinions from one another on different topics. It’s typical that no one person holds the exact same opinions on every topic as another person, whilst facts are universally true.
The distinction between fact and opinion is important to understand because facts are not something you can argue against. Facts are always true, whereas opinions may differ from person to person. Being able to tell the difference between the two as a reader is necessary so you know whether or not they are true. You can read an opinion piece and agree with the author’s opinion, but that doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone. Facts are universally true, but not everyone has the same beliefs and opinions!
Facts are helpful for writing when writing a report on a given topic. As facts have been proven true, you don’t always have to provide additional supporting evidence to prove the claim is true. Facts can also be helpful in opinion writing when cited as supporting evidence. Opinions are helpful when writing about your belief on a given topic. Typically, opinions involve your thoughts or feelings about something that you want to express in your writing. Facts and opinions can both be helpful in many different types of writing, so understanding the difference between the two is crucial.
It may not always be obvious to your child when they are reading a statement whether it is a fact or an opinion. As we’ve discussed, facts are always true and can’t be argued against. On the other hand, opinions can be argued against. Opinion statements may have phrases like “I feel,” “I believe,” “I think,” etc. They also may use adjectives to describe something the way they see it, but can’t be proven. When trying to tell the difference between the two, your child should consider if it could be scientifically proven. If it can’t be proven to always be true, then it’s an opinion statement. Below, we have included a few examples of facts and opinions about Night Zookeeper! These examples will give your child a better idea of the difference between facts and opinions:
Now that your child has a foundation for the difference between fact and opinion, they are ready to try to tell the difference between a few examples themselves! The activity we have for them is a practice exercise in which they will determine whether a statement is a fact or an opinion. Have your child put their new knowledge to the test with this activity!